The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has today (10 August) launched a multi-pronged consultation into the industry in response to the pressures of climate change on food production, the impact the food chain has on the environment and the health impacts of consumer’s diets.
A green labelling system is being mooted which would see the display of health and environmental credentials of food on their packaging.
It is just one proposal being put forward within the wider UK Food Security Assessment initiative.
It includes Food 2030 – an online discussion seeking views on the future of the UK’s food system; an update on the 2008 Cabinet Office report “Food Matters: One Year On”; as well as draft indicators for the sustainability of the food system.
Defra Secretary Hilary Benn says that last year the world had a “wake-up call” with the sudden oil and food price rises.
“While we know the price of our food, the full environmental costs and the costs to our health are significant and hidden. We need a radical rethink of how we produce and consume our food,” he says.
“Globally we need to cut emissions and adapt to the changing climate that will alter what we can grow and where we can grow it.”
He adds that it also needs to tackle diet-related ill health that already costs the NHS and the wider economy billions of pounds each year.
Benn says the UK’s food strategy will need to cover production, processing, distribution, retail, consumption and disposal.
The new strategy for the future will be published later in the year, drawing on responses to the consultation launched today.